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Citizen Letters on Ethics

The City of Winter Park posted all the written correspondence received by the Ethics Board in response to its call for public input.

Read the letters here. (Be patient, it takes some time to show up.)

There are some interesting points made.

The biggest issue with many is what are being generally called “LLC” contributions that are presumed to have a”bad” influence on elections under the presumption that such contributions constitute efforts to purchase influence for financial gain. How do you define “bad” contributions and separate them from “good” contributions? How can you ban “LLC” contributions and still permit contributions from other entities such as homeowners associations, political parties, and political action committees? If you ban contributions from all entities haven’t you restricted free speech in a constitutional sense?

I need some help on these questions. Any takers?

I also need help to understand why an attorney known and fully disclosed as representing commercial property owners is not a valid participant on a Comprehensive Plan Task Force making recommendations to the City Commission. OK, yes, we know they want to make money. But where is the conflict of interest with the City as claimed? Why don’t commercial property owners deserve representation on issues that impact their property? Any takers on this one?

Posted in Elections, Ethics.

2 Responses

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  1. Pitt Warner says

    Why is one bad and one good? Because some Americans have been trained to think that if a business is donating to a campaign, there must be corruption. Plain and simple. And if there are no facts to support the corruption claim, the argument changes to “appearances.” For example, it doesn’t “look good” to have a large engineering company and their employees donate to a county mayor race.
    Thank goodness this thinking is not a majority opinion. But, they are working on it!

  2. Pete Weldon says

    Less than 400 people and 52 “entities” contributed to the most recent Winter Park Mayoral election out of 17,000 voters and thousands of local “entities” of various sorts.

    Given the low representation on contributions, the city could be exposed to minority control. What if a small group of activist citizens got together and funded the election of their members for the purpose of spending $4,000,000 of our money to kill a redevelopment they did not like and to undermine a commuter rail initiative they did not like that had previously been approved by the voters? What if this group did not fully disclose their intent and the cost of pursuing their interests to the voters?

    By golly, we need an Ethics Board to limit campaign contributions and put in more rules to stop this abuse!

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